Evangelicals using religion for political gain is nothing new. It is an American tradition

By | January 8, 2020

Reverend William Barber writes:

Last Friday the Trump 2020 campaign held its first rally at a megachurch. King Jesus international ministries, located outside of Miami, Florida, hosted the Evangelicals for Trump Coalition kick-off. Before boasting about his commitment to fight for the religious right’s agenda, the president bowed his head to receive prayers from prosperity preacher Paula White and other religious nationalists who offer spiritual cover for a corrupt and immoral administration.

As a bishop of the church, I am troubled anytime I see Christianity used to justify the injustice, deception, violence and oppression that God hates. Even if Donald Trump had a perfect personal moral résumé, his policy agenda is an affront to God’s agenda to lift the poor and bless the marginalized. The distorted moral narrative these so-called Evangelicals for Trump have embraced is contrary to God’s politics, which have nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican. But this misuse of religion is not new. It has a long history in the American story.

When the segregationist George Wallace faced the moral challenge of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement in 1960s Alabama, he also called upon religious leaders to vouch for him. “By no stretch of the imagination is George C Wallace a racist,” Dr Henry L Lyon, the pastor of Montgomery’s Highland Avenue Baptist church, testified. “He has shown fairness to all people, regardless of race or color,” the Rev RL Lawrence, a Methodist minister, concurred. They were vouching for the same Wallace who had infamously declared in his inaugural address: “Segregation yesterday, segregation today, segregation forever!” But they had adopted a false morality that framed King as an “agitator” and Wallace as a fair-minded defender of tradition and God’s good order. [Continue reading…]

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